At 1145 on Tuesday, May 17, 1983 a CN freight was switching the west end of the yard in Portage la Prairie. CN boxcar 420445 derailed and ended up atop a signal bungalow adjacent to Third Street N.E. Interestingly, the car was loaded with...wooden grain doors! CN officials came west from Winnipeg to investigate. VIA Rail's Canadian was diverted to a nearby 'side track' according to the newspaper account. The track was cleared by 1645 the same day. News clipping photos (top photo and below) published the following day show CN 5526 next to the boxcar, then CN 5055 easing by with an eastbound on the north main track:
The offending car was removed by the time my aunt and uncle got there. But CN's Winnipeg road-rail crane was still near the station. (All photos below by Wilf Schellenberg) Having just spent several weeks editing, captioning and enjoying reviewing over 540 of my Portage photos for my Trains and Grains two-volume book project due out this spring, why not a few more?!
The signal bungalow was left righted, though a little worse for wear:
Photographed from across Third Street North East:
With the aftermath of the incident duly documented, a few ensuing evening trains were photographed:
Heading for Churchill behind CN F's, while a westbound CN freight works the yard. Several covered hoppers are being loaded by United Grain Growers (above). CP got in on the act with a westbound. Check out those CN maintenance cars at right:
And that CN freight makes an appearance behind CN 5289, likely working the yard lead and/or the CP interchange. Meeting it is an eastbound behind a bedragged GMD-1:
As you may have reasonably deduced from the previous post, VIA Rail's Canadian is sadly not returning to Montreal. Neither is there a VIA Heritage Train. Nor was Windsor's station flattened, except to make way for something better. Several have commented on the possibility of an early April Fool's Day prank. But here at Trackside Treasure, it should be noted that the age-old truism is followed rigorously: take your job seriously, but don't take yourself too seriously.
Looking back,looking forward: I was pleased to pass along a USB stick to my graphic designer, with the first half of Trains and Grains, this week. Over 540 photos taken in Portage from 1976 to 1986 with supporting documentation and full captioning. I think it will be pretty rewarding to have this finally on paper and available for other Portage railfanning enthusiasts.
Meanwhile, in Kingston: